Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Delivery

When keeping up with the world of DevOps, it can be pretty easy to assume that both continuous integration and continuous delivery are synonymous terms – however they have very prominent differences and it’s important to recognise this.

Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Delivery

Let’s clear up the purposes and the differences relating to both continuous integration and continuous delivery.

Although their wires often become crossed; really, continuous integration and continuous delivery have very little in common. Other than sharing the word ‘continuous’, there is little else than the role that they both play in modern software delivery.

It’s important to differentiate between the two in order to avoid confusion. When wires do become crossed, teams can believe that they are implementing completely different practices.

Continuous Integration

Let’s start with continuous integration…

Continuous integration has become best practice for software development and is relatively easy to implement. Simply speaking, continuous integration is the process of incorporating code in the mainline code base, implemented via platforms designed specifically for this purpose. So, it’s all about using the right tools to achieve successful continuous integration.

Continuous integration is the development practice whereby developers regularly integrate code into a shared repository and ideally, multiple times daily. When integrated with automated testing, it can ensure that your code is made extremely dependable.

A successful continuous integration setup encourages a faster and better workflow, pushing change. It can help to detect bugs and code defects faster, as well as reducing code; allowing it to be deployed faster.

Continuous Delivery

Time to take a look into continuous delivery…

Differing from continuous integration, continuous delivery can be a little more complicated. Continuous delivery is about the processes that must happen after a code is integrated for application changes to be delivered effectively to users. These processes include testing, staging and deploying code, with no single tool or method to implement these processes, unlike continuous integration. Alternatively, the processes involved in continuous delivery very much depend on the team and app.

Implementing continuous delivery ensures that your codebase is deployable at any stage; this ensures that applications pass automated tests and have all the necessary configuration necessary to push it into production.

Hopefully we’ve cleared up some of the confusion between the definitions of continuous integration and continuous delivery. The two procedures have very little in common and their practices must be understood in order for the DevOps process to run smoothly. 

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